Current Directions in Mediation Analysis

This paper describes the current state of methods to investigate mediating variables

David P. MacKinnon

2009

Scholarcy highlights

  • Mediating variables have been ubiquitous throughout the history of psychology because they are used to explain how or why two variables are related
  • One of the oldest models in psychology, the Stimulus ! Organism ! Response model, specifies mediating processes in an organism that transmit a stimulus to a response
  • A modern application of mediating variables is in treatment and prevention research, where interventions are designed to change mediating variables, such as norms, which are hypothesized to be causally related to a dependent variable, such as health behavior
  • The promise of mediation analysis is that it can identify fundamental processes underlying human behavior that are relevant across behaviors and contexts
  • The requirement that X is significantly related to Y is an important test in any research study, but mediation can exist even in the absence of such a significant relation
  • ASSUMPTIONS OF THE SINGLE-MEDIATOR MODEL. Several assumptions underlie these tests of mediation, including assumptions necessary for the statistical methods used to estimate the strength of relations in the regression models
  • All of the existing and forthcoming developments in mediation analysis will help obtain more accurate answers to the ubiquitous question in psychology of how and why two variables are related to each other

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